Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


Hedonic Hot Spots in the Brain -- Pecina et al. 12 (6): 500 -- The Neuroscientist

Pecina, Susana, Smith, Kyle S., Berridge, Kent C.
Hedonic Hot Spots in the Brain
Neuroscientist 2006 12: 500-511

"Hedonic 'liking' for sensory pleasures is an important aspect of reward, and excessive liking of particular rewards might contribute to excessive consumption and to disorders such as obesity. The present review aims to summarize recent advances in the identification of brain substrates for food liking with a focus on opioid hot spots in the nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum. Drug microinjection studies have shown that opioids in both areas amplify the liking of sweet taste rewards. Modern neuroscience tools such as Fos plume mapping have further identified hedonic hot spots within the accumbens and pallidum, where opioids are especially tuned to magnify liking of food rewards. Hedonic hot spots in different brain structures may interact with each other within the larger functional circuitry that interconnects them. Better understanding of how brain hedonic hot spots increase the positive affective impact of natural sensory pleasures will help characterize the neural mechanisms potentially involved in liking for many rewards.